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NewsRoberto Martinez emerges as the frontrunner for a return...

Roberto Martinez emerges as the frontrunner for a return to Everton after Toffees sack Rafa Benitez

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Roberto Martinez is being considered for a shock return to Everton after Rafa Benitez became the sixth manager to be sacked by Farhad Moshiri.

Benitez, who met Moshiri at Everton’s Finch Farm training base last Thursday for what he called a ‘positive lunch’, was relieved of his duties on Saturday night after a disastrous 2-1 defeat at Norwich. The club confirmed his departure in a terse 40-word statement on Sunday.

Everton are now on the cusp of a relegation battle but they are pursuing the option of bringing back Martinez. The Belgium head coach has a £2million release clause in his contract, which expires at the end of this year after the World Cup. 

Belgium national coach Roberto Martinez is being lined up for a sensational return to Everton

Belgium national coach Roberto Martinez is being lined up for a sensational return to Everton

Belgium national coach Roberto Martinez is being lined up for a sensational return to Everton

It would be a dramatic move as Martinez was the first of five managers Moshiri sacked in May 2016 and news of the potential deal was greeted with anger by fans, who are seething about the situation the club is in. 

It was initially proposed that Martinez took the job on an interim basis — Belgium only have one friendly against Slovenia in March — but he is eager for a permanent role. The Belgian FA, who are in talks with Everton, want to keep him.

Martinez, it is understood, will not resign without a deal being agreed with Belgium.

During his previous stint as Everton boss, he led the club to a record Premier League points total in 2014, as well as the semi-finals of the League Cup and FA Cup in 2016.  

Rafa Benitez was relieved of his duties as Everton manager following a 2-1 defeat at Norwich

Rafa Benitez was relieved of his duties as Everton manager following a 2-1 defeat at Norwich

Rafa Benitez was relieved of his duties as Everton manager following a 2-1 defeat at Norwich

He was a candidate last summer but Moshiri, the club’s majority shareholder, chose Benitez and the Iranian’s capability for the unexpected means there are no guarantees that talks will lead to an appointment.

Club stalwart Duncan Ferguson is waiting in the wings and would love a crack at the job but if he does not get it now his time may never come. 

Other names being discussed include Wayne Rooney, who has done outstanding work at Derby, and Niko Kovac, the former Bayern Munich head coach who is available after leaving Monaco. Moshiri has always liked Jose Mourinho, who is at Roma.

Benitez issued a statement last night, illustrating the challenge the new man faces. ‘The road to success isn’t easy and sadly, nowadays there is a search for immediate results and there is always less and less patience,’ Benitez said. 

‘Unfortunately circumstances have determined the results and it won’t be possible to continue this project. In any case, thank you to the board, to the staff, to the players, and to those fans who have supported us during this time.’ 

Martinez guided Everton to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the League Cup in 2016

Martinez guided Everton to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the League Cup in 2016

Martinez guided Everton to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the League Cup in 2016

Source: Daily Mail

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